Ah, today should be a citywide holiday, it really really should.

December 5th marks the 74th anniversary of the end of Prohibition, just a tick of the geological clock since that final state (Utah, who else) grudgingly ratified the 21st Amendment.

You couldn't really blame the Prohibitionists for their distaste for John Barleycorn. A flood of cheap corn whiskey in the early years of the nineteenth century changed the way an already soggy American society imbibed -- for the soggier. The forerunner of today's coffee break emerged as the mid-morning whiskey "elevenses", and by 1820 the average Joe was pouring down half a pint a day -- that's over five gallons a year!

In the middle of the century, hatchet-wielding Carrie Nation began to get the upper hand. Temperance societies appeared and abstinence laws started to pass throughout the "civilized" half of the country, but out West, well ... let's just say that as writer Rudyard Kipling strolled off a clipper ship into 1889 San Francisco, his delicate British sensibilities were shocked, shocked! by the way we got our drink on.